A number of businesses in the north west involved the field of clean energy are set to receive a boost as a brand new research facility is set to open at the University of Salford.

The £400,000 facility will allow a number of businesses in the north west access to a space available for the testing of new designs, configurations and installation methods for solar cells.

Furthermore, the University will offer their expertise in the energy sector to help provide consultancy, in addition to research and development for businesses.

The facility will officially open its doors at a launch event on April 16th. Businesses will be able to see solar panels fresh off the production line and will be able to ask research staff a number of questions.

Academics and technicians will benefit from industry standard production machinery from Italy. It is hoped the facility will provide a similar use to the Salford Energy House, where a full-scale rebuilt terrace house features within a climate controlled laboratory.

Here, businesses will be able to test out new products and technology to see how efficiently they work and if they would be suitable for the solar market in the future.

Solar Aid will be present at the launch event to give a talk. The charity provides solar lights to underprivileged children in African communities, so they are able to study at night and so that families can light their home.

The university's energy technical consultant Richard Fitton, said: “We’re working hard to reduce heating and electricity demand using our Energy House and this solar facility adds clean generation to the service we can provide to businesses."

Mr Fitton went on to say that the service the university provides is free to a number of eligible businesses who are able to access to a European Regional Development Fund grant.

The launch event will play host to many of the companies who have already signed up to use the facility in the coming months.